In being charged with a crime in Texas, defense attorneys find that defendants can typically expect one of three results to their case.
Verdicts of not guilty and guilty are fairly self-explanatory but there is also the possibility of acquittal.
Though very similar to the verdict of not guilty, criminal defense lawyers point out that the two do differ slightly, so it’s important to acknowledge and understand that difference.
What Are the Different Verdicts for A Criminal Case?
When defense lawyers and defendants head to court after criminal charges have been made, there are multiple different verdicts that can result after arguments are made and evidence is presented:
- Innocent - The defendant is found not to have committed the crime they are charged with.
- Guilty - There is enough evidence to prove that the defendant did commit the crime they are charged with.
- Not Guilty - There is not enough evidence to prove the defendant committed the crime they are charged with; they might not be innocent, but cannot be convicted, either.
- Acquittal - The case is closed and charges are dropped due to some reason that prevents the court from determining guilt or innocence.
How Do Acquittals and Not Guilty Verdicts Differ?
Although the term is commonly used interchangeably, defense attorneys advise that being acquitted is slightly different than being found not guilty.
A not guilty verdict is an acquittal because the case is closed and no conviction is made; however, not all acquittals come with a not guilty verdict.
Some cases are closed for other reasons if there are factors involved that prevent the court from reaching a definitive decision.
When Might An Acquittal Be Made?
Because acquittal does not necessarily mean not guilty, defense lawyer advise that it is a judgment used to relieve an accused from the charges that were filed for various reasons.
This may happen due to different factors, including lack of evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, errors made during the defendant’s arrest or interrogation, or the case presented by the prosecution was not convincing enough to convict.
Criminal defense attorneys will seek acquittal when problems with a case could prevent a fair hearing, if there is anecdotal or weak evidence against the defendant, or when the arrest, collection of evidence, or other details were carried out improperly.
What Happens After Acquittal?
Whether by acquittal or not guilty verdict, either of these verdicts means the case is closed and the defendant is not convicted and in most case, prosecutors may not appeal this decision under the rules of “double jeopardy,” in which defendants cannot be tried again for the same crime.
According to experience criminal defense lawyers, there is a slight chance of the prosecution appealing an acquittal verdict if it was rendered after a jury had reach a guilty verdict.
Acquittal or Not Guilty - Both Preferable Verdicts
Regardless of the crime, anyone facing criminal charges is entitled to a fair trail and representation by a defense lawyer who can skillfully state their case.
When mishaps in the case happen or there is not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt someone’s guilt, a verdict of not guilty or acquittal can be given.
To be aware if these rights, defendants should seek an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands the process that can lead to acquittal and challenges prosecutors with the right case facts.
Reynaldo Garza, III - Attorney at Law
680 East St. Charles St, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520